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February 3, 2014

In Support of Missoula’s Condom Fashion Show. ~ Jenna Penielle Lyons

offtherack2

Every year, Missoula’s Blue Mountain Clinic puts on a huge fundraiser and fashion show called “Off the Rack.”

It is truly one of the raciest, edgiest events that ever happens in Montana. A collage of individuals and groups come out of the woodwork to wear outfits made of condoms and perform for the community—myself and my partner included.

Brandon and I spent hours and hours practicing our ballet/acroyoga routine for the event. I spent a couple days sewing rosettes made of condoms on my leotard and Brandon’s hat and suspenders. Others fashioned hoop skirts, butterfly wings, and elaborate dresses from condoms.

And this year, our mayor tweaked in front of hundreds of people. Overall, Off the Rack 2014 was a giant party that made a lot of money for the clinic.

Blue Mountain Clinic has struggled in the past, mostly because it is an abortion clinic—one of three in Montana.

Abortions don’t have a history of seamlessly existing in Montana…in 1993, arsonists and anti-abortion activists set the clinic on fire, causing over $250,000 worth of damage.

And because it is constitutional for them to do so, the anti-abortion protesters sit outside the abortion clinic almost every day, rain or shine. It doesn’t matter if someone is going in to have an abortion or going in because of a cold…the protesters are always there with a stone cold gaze.

I think that diametrically opposing viewpoints and polarization with respect to sex is the reason for the lack of understanding among young people, old people, religious extremists, and differing political parties.

For example, here is an alarming video, released by BYU Idaho and narrated by the president of BYU Idaho. Designed to educate church members about the dangers of masturbation, it compares those who are addicted to pornography and masturbating to wounded soldiers on the battlefield (hence the title, “Wounded on the Battlefield”).

It encourages the “spiritually wounded” to save themselves from depravity by “channeling the redeeming power of Christ” and telling their friends or their bishop about their addiction:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw5jEp3ZwR0

So when a bunch of folks decide to raise money for a clinic that genuinely does a lot of good in the world, promotes LGBT rights, and encourages people to have healthy attitudes and habits apropos sexuality, the polar opposite viewpoint hides, protests, or becomes angry.

But nevertheless, I had a blast dancing with my boyfriend, my mayor, my doctors, and my friends in front of my mostly loving, embracing, and supportive community of fellow Montanans. I had a ton of fun hanging out with talented straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender performers this weekend, and I loved cultivating a more open, honest, and candid sense of community with people I never would have met otherwise.

I think that shamelessly dancing around in silly outfits made of condoms (for a common cause) is one of the best ways to become friends with someone who you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

And I will continue going to Blue Mountain Clinic because it is a wonderful place to receive health care from awesome, non-judgmental physicians, to learn about healthy and safe ways to make love, and to make friends for life.

And remember, in a mindful community, we all share the Same Love.

 

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: courtesy of the author

 

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